A vast area of Basalt sport climbing. There are hundreds and hundreds of climbs. The climbing, while fun, isn't worthy of a drive across a few states - particularly with the City of Rocks nearby. But for those within a few hours, this place makes an awesome cold weather destination. The fine, desert sand between your toes is a welcome sensation after a long, cold winter.
I'll add more information as I become familiar with the place.
One word of warning.... watch out for the snakes. Seriously, they don't call it the Snake River for nothing.
Looooved this climb! Crux right at the top where you have to climb a crack to get to the top. JB led, I followed on top rope. My first taste of crack - and I became instantly addicted!...[more]Browse More Classics in ID
I'd give the City 4/5 stars.. Massacre, maybe 2/5 stars. Massacre's advantage is warmer temps in the cool seasons, but the climbing can't touch what the City has to offer. The City is a world class destination... Massacre, while fun, is most certainly not.
Agree completely with Massacre 2/5 stars, City 4/5. Massacre is good early spring destination when City is snowed in. It's a fun place, great for mileage and clipping bolts. Like a big outdoor climbing gym with hawks.
This was the first place I went to do outdoor sport climbing after starting in the gym. I feel like it was a great place for a beginner for several reasons, one of which was that there was no one else there (though it was a weekday). Thus, it was easy for us to take our time, and I felt comfortable getting used to things. The location was easy to get to, and it was really warm for early March. We camped out under the stars and enjoyed some great beers from The Grapevine in Pocatello. I could not have asked for a better first experience climbing outdoors. So - from a beginner's perspective, I'd have to say I recommend it highly. Since Massacre, I have done a few climbs in Little Cottonwood Canyon in SLC and they were much more nerve-wracking for me.
As a semi-local and City of Rocks guide author, my 2 cents is that Massacre is one of the best pure-sport areas in the U.S! With an ungodly number of featured basalt routes,(upwards of 700)this is one of the best places on earth for cranking mass quantities of sport routes. Nearby City of Rocks is great, but lacks classic "sport" walls where you can open up the rope bag and climb all day.
Two things keep Massacre from being an A-list area. Firstly, access is adventurous, involving complex route finding from the small town of American Falls, finishing with tricky navigation on sandy tracks w several fence crossings. Good directions can be had online at the ISU website. Traditionally, the "Main Wall" was approached by crossing the Snake River via canoe at Massacre Rocks State Park. For several years, locals kept boats stashed for fellow climber use, but that ended after several boats disappeared.
The other negative factor (or positive depending on your preference) is that the bulk of the climbs are solid 5.11, and don't offer much if you don't climb at least 5.10.If you operate in the upper .11 zone, Massacre is onsight paradise, with lots of crazy (challenging)sequences and cool features.
Most of the use these days is in the back alcove areas, a unique landscape of sandy coves sculpted by the ice-age Bonneville Flood. Most of the climbs are 100' or less, but amazingly equipped with ample bolts and quick-lowering anchors.
There is sweet (free) camping in the sandy juniper on the rim, with many crags within a few minutes of camp.
If you have not heard the BLM is proposing closing this crag to climbing due to protection of cultural resources. If you want to help please contact your concerns to Mike Courtney of the BLM: email@example.com. You can also be added to a master email list by contacting Troy Neu at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is AN AWESOME CRAG; please help keep it open. July 2011
The Massacre Rocks closure has been listed on the Federal Register. That means you have thirty days to comment on the closure. BE HEARD, WRITE A LETTER. Send your letter and/or comments to the BLM by going to their website www.blm.gov/id/st/en/info/nepa.html, emailing them email@example.com, mailing them 15 East 200 South Burley, ID 83318 or faxing them at 208-677-6699 PLEASE ACT NOW!
I agree with D. Bingham. Based on my experience, climbing all over Western US for 20+ years, I find that Massacre ranks among the best sport climbing destinations.
The routes are generally difficult for beginners (>10d) and the access is a bit complex (see www.seiclimbing.com). Upon arrival, however, you will generally find that you have over 600 mostly-high-quality routes to yourself.
Climbing is also possible year round. In the summer months go in the morning to West-Facing walls (e.g., La Petite Covette, Hobbit Wall, Eagle Wall), and in the evening go to East-facing walls (e.g., Love Connection, Red Light District).